March 23, 2023


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Column: China snaps up a 3rd of up coming year’s corn demands from U.S. exporters

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Reuters) – The 2021-22 marketing 12 months is even now a several months away, but China within just the past handful of days has secured almost a 3rd of its expected corn requirements out of the United States for following period.

Corn rests on the ground on Hodgen Farm in Roachdale, Indiana, U.S. Oct 29, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

The volume and timing of the modern buys are much better and earlier than those of a 12 months ago, which along with U.S. crop shortfalls catapulted Chicago corn futures to multi-yr highs in unparalleled vogue.

The U.S. Section of Agriculture verified on Tuesday that 1.36 million tonnes of U.S. corn experienced been bought to China for shipping in 2021-22, which commences on Sept. 1. That marked the seventh everyday sale, or flash sale, of new-crop corn to China inside the past eight enterprise days.

Via Tuesday, China had booked at minimum 8.2 million tonnes (321 million bushels) of U.S. corn for 2021-22, however trade sources counsel there could be some extra sales on the way in the in close proximity to term. The country’s first recognised new-crop U.S. invest in of 1.36 million tonnes was announced on May possibly 7.

USDA very last week projected China will import 26 million tonnes of corn from all suppliers in 2021-22, unchanged from the latest calendar year, so the modern income are not exterior the scope of industry anticipations. Even so, no one was specific how before long they might come about or how big they would be to start off.

With the latest Chinese gross sales, new-crop U.S. corn commitments to all destinations stand close to 12 million tonnes at minimal. The 2020-21 complete had 1st crossed that mark in mid-August 2020, and that experienced been history speed. Revenue to China had passed 8.2 million tonnes close to Sept. 1, and the biggest volumes at that time experienced been marketed in July 2020.

Traders require to proceed to keep an eye on feasible previous-crop cancellations. If China shifts some of the old-crop commitments into new-crop, that could most likely sign a scaled-down overall pool of demand from customers than envisioned.

By way of early May, China had cancelled a number of aged cargoes, though the amounts ended up little vs . complete product sales. USDA confirmed on May well 10 the reduction of 280,000 tonnes for 2020-21 and the market could have been bracing for much more possible cancellations in the up coming days, but there have not been any given that.

As of Could 6, U.S. corn gross sales to China for 2020-21 totaled 22.9 million tonnes (902 million bushels) with 49% left to ship by Aug. 31. In the week finished May well 13, U.S. exporters might have transported close to 1 million tonnes to China, very easily a marketing and advertising-12 months large and probably an all-time large.


China’s U.S. corn acquiring routines have been really distinctive from their soybean kinds. The soybean bookings generally occur in a smooth, upward trajectory that commences additional sharply a couple of months right before the new advertising 12 months and then tapers off a few months in.

But the corn buying is nearly like a move-purpose, as the massive revenue have come in multi-working day chunks, and then a peaceful period could ensue for months. That has probably sophisticated analysts’ comprehending of China’s intentions within just the earlier year.

Brazil is the most important soybean supplier to China and the United States has now turn out to be China’s largest corn supplier by much. It is not obvious why the corn and soy getting designs are so different, but it may perhaps counsel a little bit far more urgency and feeling of competition when it will come to corn.

China is the cause the U.S. soybean crop and acres planted have grown as a lot as they have in the previous 10 years or so, but the U.S. corn industry has not been structured all-around China’s requires. In modern many years, exports account for about fifty percent of annual U.S. soybean use and around 15% of corn use.

Soybean exports continue being the cornerstone of U.S. farm exports to China, though, and the new-crop bookings ended up on an earlier mentioned-average pace as of May perhaps 6 at 3.1 million tonnes. Mysterious places, which are frequently China, have acquired 2.6 million, and China and unknown with each other account for 81% of new-crop soy sales.

Brazil is unlikely to have the record corn crop it had hoped for and its export opportunity has fallen, but the No. 2 corn provider is not however a menace to U.S.-China corn trade. Sure phytosanitary specifications keep Brazilian exports to China at negligible stages.

Brazil and China were being reportedly in talks late very last yr about taking away these constraints to aid far more corn trade, but there have been no information considering the fact that.

In accordance to USDA’s Kyiv attache, Ukraine delivered 4.1 million tonnes of corn to China among October 2020 and January 2021, symbolizing “2.5-fold” development. However, whole Ukrainian corn exports were down 25% on the calendar year for the duration of that period owing to a lesser 2020 harvest.

Ukraine is the No. 4 corn exporter and was China’s top provider prior to very last 12 months.

The thoughts expressed below are all those of the author, a current market analyst for Reuters.